Le Gasp! Biden Finally Embraces Changing The Filibuster

US President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall at Baltimore Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland on October 21, 2021. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
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October 22, 2021 8:38 a.m.

A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things.

Here We Go!

After months of largely avoiding calls to reform the filibuster while GOP senators were gleefully weaponizing it to obstruct his agenda, the President said during a TV town hall event last night that he’s had enough: It’s time to “fundamentally alter the filibuster.”

  • Biden suggested he might be open to eliminating the filibuster entirely.
  • Meanwhile, he proposed bringing back the “talking filibuster,” where senators would actually have to go up to the floor and speak.
  • Biden isn’t necessarily limiting his call for filibuster reforms to a carveout for voting rights or the debt limit either. He said potential changes to the filibuster could be extended to “maybe more” of his policy proposals.

Biden Gives Deets On Reconciliation Talks

The President laid out the specifics of the reconciliation package that his fellow Democrats are (possibly) close to finding a deal on after weeks of negotiations with holdouts Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

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  • Here’s what’s likely to be remain in the sweeping legislation and what’s probably getting left on the cutting room floor, according to Biden during his CNN town hall on Thursday night:
    • 12 weeks of paid parental leave has been whittled down to four.
    • Free community college is out, so the President is working to increase Pell grants in the bill instead.
    • Biden opposes work requirements for the proposed extended child tax credits despite Manchin’s demands.
    • Expanding Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing is a “reach.” The legislation may include a $800 voucher for dental coverage instead.
    • Biden hasn’t dropped his clean electric program in the face of Manchin’s opposition to that provision in the bill.
    • The corporate tax rate increase is likely out thanks to Sinema. Biden hopes to replace that provision with a 15 percent minimum corporate tax instead.
  • Negotiations over the bill are now down to “just down to four or five issues,” Biden said.

Hoisted With His Own Petard

This had to hurt: Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) promised to pay a bounty from his campaign coffers to anyone who reported election fraud that leads to a conviction. The first recipient is the scion of a family of Democratic operatives who turned in a Republican in Pennsylvania for voting twice.

  • Patrick’s campaign shelled out $25,000 to the tipster after some delays.

Tennessee GOPer Says Civil War Isn’t Over

During a special session in the Tennessee legislature earlier this week, state Sen. Frank Niceley (R) shared a memory of him telling his grandson that it was “too early to tell” if the South had really lost the Civil War because it never ended and the South is winning right now, actually.

  • That’s because when he compares “their Northern cities with our Southern cities” and “their debt loads,” “I think I can tell my grandson the war between the states is going on and we’re winning.”
  • Anyway, the South lost the Civil War.
  • Fun fact: Niceley was one of the Tennessee Republicans who joined a lawsuit to force then-President Barack Obama to turn over his birth certificate in 2009.

Lawyer From Trump Election Suit To Oversee Texas Elections

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Thursday appointed a new secretary of state who will supervise the state’s election process: an attorney who had worked on one of Trump’s many fruitless lawsuits attempting to undo the 2020 election.

  • The lawyer, John Scott, joined a lawsuit by the Trump campaign on Nov. 13 that tried to block the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. He then withdrew from the case just three days later.
  • Scott also defended Texas’ notorious voter ID law as deputy attorney general in 2014. He was working under Abbott, who was the attorney general at the time.

The State Of GaetzGate

Two top prosecutors from Washington, D.C. have joined the Justice Department’s sprawling child sex trafficking investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), according to the New York Times.

  • Both are experts in corruption cases: One of them is reportedly a public corruption investigator who specializes in child exploitation crimes, while the other reportedly leads the public corruption unit.

Schumer Endorses Dem Socialist For Buffalo Mayor

With other state Democrats running in the other direction, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Thursday boosted India Walton, the self-identified democratic socialist who won the Democratic nomination for mayor of Buffalo.

  • Walton’s surprise win over the longtime incumbent mayor in the Democratic primary has been awkward for state Democrats. Up until yesterday, Schumer and other top New York Democrats had declined to endorse Walton or recognize her victory.
  • Schumer declared on Thursday that Walton won the primary “fair and square and is the nominee.”
  • Schumer’s endorsement came several days after New York State Democratic Party chair Jay Jacobs compared endorsing Walton to endorsing Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
  • The incumbent Democratic mayor, Byron Brown, is running a write-in campaign and is leading the race, according to a poll by local outlet WGRZ.

Paris Hilton Confirms That Legislation Is Hot

Entrepreneur and socialite Paris Hilton’s been visiting the Capitol over the past several days to help Democrats work on a bill to protect kids from abusive “troubled teen” facilities, including the one Hilton herself was sent to when she was 16 years old.

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